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Cycle 5 week 4 status

The main news of the week is that it seems likely that I have finished my chemotherapy, after five cycles instead of six. The decision taken on Wednesday was actually to take a fortnight’s break from the chemotherapy, including the 5-FU in the bag, and to wait until after we see the results of a CT scan before we decide how we’re going to proceed. The toxicity of the chemicals was beginning to have a serious effect on me, so I’m fairly sure we have reached the point of diminished returns. Whatever the final decision, it has been a real relief not to be permanently tied to a pump with 5-FU in it. Even if there were no other improvements in my life at the moment, that single one would be worth a huge cheer, but other things have improved too.

For example, the infection that was causing me to experience wild temperature fluctuations — shivering in the morning and over-heated in the afternoon — seems finally to have been put to bed with a course of powerful intravenous antibiotics, followed by a short course of pills. I still feel the cold, but only in the same way I have done for months. I can cope with that simply by wearing warmer clothes than other people, which is easy.

The diclofenac that was prescribed to take the place of ibuprofen is also continuing to do a good job controlling my back pain, which itself has slowly decreased during the week. Last week I had to sleep using a foam bed wedge, lying all night on my back. Last night I was able to sleep directly on the mattress for most of the night, sometimes on my back and other times on my front facing one side or the other. It may seem inconsequential, but the ability to choose between two sleeping positions is an absolute luxury when I have recently been restricted to just one sleeping position. More evidence of the improvement in my back is that I was able to help Gillian in assembling a bookcase that we bought on Friday to cope with the overflowing piles of books that are beginning to litter the living room around my chair.

My back does still need to be looked after carefully, however, and I still spend a couple of hours per day on the sofa, which relieves it from any strain that it might have suffered. As I’ve been able to do more and more — laundry and cooking are the most prominent tasks that I’ve been able to take up again — it has become important for me to know when and how to rest my back, and the sofa has proved ideal for that.

Finally, and almost the most important for me, I’ve stopped shaving my head. I know that it may be a premature decision, but I really dislike being bald (no matter how many times I’m told that it suits me). My hair is now just ove a millimetre long, and I can barely resist running my palm over the stubble, just to remind myself that I have hair. It’s a lovely feeling.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Graham H | 17 May 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad that there have been lots of improvements. I hope this means you will be able to go on your holiday as planned. It has been very windy in Sardinia but warm enough for me and I’ve been able to do everything I intended to, so far.

    Best wishes to you both


  2. frosty | 17 May 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    So pleased you are feeling able to do ‘stuff’ again. Your new hairdo would ensure you blend in well with my Close Protection Officers ;o)

  3. icyjumbo | 18 May 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Graham, glad to hear you’re having fun and getting things done in Sardinia.

    Frosty, the hairdo maybe, but I’m not sure about the rest of me. I think the difference might be immediately obvious 🙂

  4. Veronica | 19 May 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear of the improvements, Chris. Take things steadily, and I hope things carry on in the same vein for as long as possible.

  5. icyjumbo | 19 May 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Veronica. So do I, I assure you.